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Resources: LLM Archives

LLMFor nearly a century, Lutheran Laity Movement for Stewardship assisted, inspired and trained congregations in important ways. LLM ceased operations on May 31, 2003, but the Stewardship of Life Institute is proud to continue its work by making its web resources available to a new generation of stewards.

Let's Stop Responding to the Past. We don't give to the church because of what God has already given us, argues Hank Langknecht, but rather because of our expectations of God's future. "What my heart says is that my stuff is mine. I worked for it -- or my folks worked for it and I inherited it. Regardless, it is mine. (12/05/05)

Biblically based principles turn dollars into sense.  An irony: that we work hard to get dollars and then have to be saved from them! Lest our dollars - and the possessions they buy -should possess us, why not turn dollars into sense? A sense, that is, of personal, congregational, and churchwide mission." Good stewardship tips from a pastor.(11/28/05)

Avoiding the connection between faith and money. Especially from the pulpit, money may be the most taboo subject in America, and yet the pastor who refuses to talk about money misses a great opportunity to teach the congregation the real meaning of stewardship. A very inspiring, well-thought-out essay from the Rev. William O. Avery. (11/8/04)

Our ministry visible and invisible. In his letter to his congregation, a stewardship chairman asks members to consider two aspects of ministry.  "Over the course of years, what is visible and invisible to you and me may depend on our circumstances, interests, or place in life at the time. The visible church is only a small portion of what [our church] brings to its members. There is much more!"  By the Ronald E. Keener. (10/25/04)

 Where your treasure is, your heart will be also. "In our lives we want to desperately hold on to what we have -- people, relationships, material possessions, power, prestige, and even money. And we don't want anyone else to tell us what to do with any of them. We tend to think they are ours to have and to hold from this time forth and forever more. But these are only temporary." Inspirational reading from the Rev. Kristi Beebe. (11/15/04)

More than tipping -- tithing!  "Living unthankfully to God is living with a low-grade fever, as dangerous to our health as leprosy. Not contagious or dangerous in itself, it leads to disfigurement, decay! Living gratefully to God, on the other hand, gives us a healthy glow that comes from turning to our Creator. Giving gratitude to God means coming to feel good about ourselves."' By the Rev. Roy Roderick. (10/18/04)  

Stewardship, Faith and Life. "Although we profess a wider understanding of stewardship, we have allowed it to be primarily focused on the given of money. Even when we add time and talent to our discussion, the message we hear is related to money. We need to focus on the 'need of the giver to give' versus the 'need of the institution to receive.' " By Duane Englehardt. (10/18/04)

Tithing: A good response? When giving is based on thanks, those who cannot tithe will not feel shame or guilt. One person said, 'I know I am cheating my Lord when I do not tithe, but I cannot give more than 5 percent.' Another whose income was barely enough to pay the rent and feed his family said, 'Do I give to feed the hungry in Africa and not have enough to feed my own family?' " By the Rev. David F. Conrad. (09/27/04)

Management is a learned art. "The management of our lives as Christians is a learned art that is the Holy Spirit's work of making us more nearly whole. (Sanctification is the theological word for this process of growth.) As Christians, our vocation is to be stewards of our lives and all of creation. In particular, we are especially challenged to manage that part of creation in which we are placed to live and utilize our gifts. By the Rev. L. Douglas Stowe, pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Hampton, Va. (09/20/04)

Giving hilariously: No-nonsense stewardship.  “For God loves a cheerful giver,” St. Paul writes in Cor. 9:6-7. When greed is in charge, we cling to money and possessions as if they were permanently ours. When we rise above greed, we give to God's work 'hilariously.' The Greek word we translate 'cheerful' is 'hilarious.' Paul challenges us to give 'hilariously.' That means giving spontaneously and giving joyfully. The Macedonians rose above greed by giving hilariously. So can we!” By the Rev. Ron Lavin. (9/13/04)

Every member visits: Challenges as opportunities. "People are learning that stewardship is not a dangerous monster threatening to break into their homes and steal their money.  Commitments to the Lord and His church are generously given following a visit by trained visitors to every member household." By the Rev. Kurt Wandrey. (9/6/4)

Resourcefulness. "Resourcefulness is one of the touchstones for achieving greatness. Sometimes in life we must do what it takes to adjust to adverse conditions. We discover what really works when the chips are down. We turn to a new way when expected things fail us. Beautiful signs of greatness often emerge as we come face-to-face with overwhelming odds, and find ways to cope or overcome." By the Rev. Peter Marty. (08/30/04)  

Discovering your church's mission. "The primary focus of the church centers on the Gospel. The work of the congregation must grow out of this focus. The structure of the congregation is helpful only as it facilitates mission and ministry. If we take away our focus, the church has no compelling reason for existence." By the Rev. Roger Skatrud. (08/23/04)

Proclaiming stewardship. Here's a gem for pastors who want to emphasize stewardship from the pulpit and classroom. Susan K. Hedahl, professor of homiletics, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, offers tips for sermons and temple talks. "Ask what the stewardship profile of your congregation is -- Before public proclamation, it is necessary to ask: Where have we been? As a congregation, what gifts do we already employ for ourselves and others? Where do we hope to be in the months, the years ahead? Which resources do we need to consider, expand, develop?" (08/16/04)

And be thankful! "If we are indeed thankful, then surely a manifestation of that gratitude will be a generous sharing of the love and blessings we have received from a gracious God. Paul reminds us that this thankfulness is to be expressed in whatever we do, in word and deed -- another way of saying that we should put our "faith in action" always and in all ways!" By Clint Schroeder. (8/9/04)

Stewardship of People. Institutional loyalty is admirable and deserves development and encouragement. But it can easily rate ahead of a loyalty and concern for fellow workers. The institution can swallow up the “risk” and “emotion” of people relationships. We can “hide” and “slip by” in the vast machinery of an institution." By Glen Holmquist. (8/2/04)

Testimony of a tither. "Some people think of a tithe as legalistic. For me, a tithe is only the beginning of giving. A tithe is not an amount, but rather a dedication and a commitment to give of our first fruits." By Robert O. Drange. (7/26/4)

Pastor: Fund Raiser for Mission. "The time has come in our church when we, as clergy and leaders, can no longer divorce ourselves from raising money for mission. To a present culture of materialism, selfishness, and consumerism, we are called to model in our own lives and teach others Christian financial stewardship." By Jerry L. Schmalenberger, former president and professor of parish life at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. (07/19/04)

The Stewardship of Effort. "Love in action requires energy given to us by God and always usable for the glory of God. When energy flows through our being, it becomes much easier when we, with vigor -- containing our integrity, spend the necessary time to fully express our thanks to our God. It also assures us of renewal of energy should it be required." By Arthur L. Larson, benefactor of the Stewardship of Life Institute. (07/12/04)

 Francis of Assisi: Steward of a Radical Faith. He lived more than half a millennium ago, but St. Francis has much to teach stewards of today, says Gerald Christianson, history professor at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. "We stand under judgment because of our greed, our grasping, our accumulating, our self-love — in short, all that Francis perceived would continually afflict those who have. Yet, at the same time, we live under the promise. "I am not ashamed of the gospel", Paul writes in Romans 1:16, "it is the power of God into salvation." (07/05/04)

Non-Materialistic Lifestyle. "To be free of stuff, and the desire for more stuff, has a certain appeal. Do you agree? Even to be released from the chains of keeping up with society, its fads, and its styles would be a great gift. If we could become "completely non-materialistic,"  what would that mean? Would we live happier lives? Would we be stress free? Would we become more effective in our work? Would our sense of values improve? Could it simplify and improve our lifestyle?"  By Glenn Holmquist. (06/28/04)

Christ, However ... .  Here's a meditation on Hebrews 3:6: "The Gospel calls us to be good stewards of our prayer lives, so that we might experience the mystery of God in Christ on a daily basis. It calls us to be good stewards of our time in service of our Gospel ministry. It calls us to be good stewards of actions, so that they may serve as witnesses to all. It calls us to be good stewards of salvation by grace through faith."  By George Schnieder.(06/21/04)

Endowments: Hidden Miracle or Hidden Peril? "Many congregations are doing marvelous things with their endowments and are empowered. There is a sense of mission, purpose, and empowerment in these congregations as they reach out beyond their own needs to address the needs of others. Other congregations are gasping, suffocating, or even dying because of their endowments. Why? Because they have yielded to the temptation that we all have experienced. Let's take an easier road."  By Duane Englehardt. (6/14/04)

Our Charge: To Do God's Work. "We must provide a way for each member of the body of Christ to exercise his or her gifts, including the gift of financial support to the church. We believe it is essential to ask for regular commitments which address the basic needs of the church. The early church took care of the basics by the people sharing everything they had, something that is probably not practical with today's lifestyle, but the concept provides the foundation for the commitments we make today."  By the Lt. Col. David Penman, USMC.(6/7/04)

Two Questions, Two Incredible Answers. "Do you know what else God does with this 'everything in heaven and in the earth' that is God's? Listen, again, to the psalmist: The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, and you give them their meat in due season. You open your hand and satisfy the desire or every living thing." That's the "second" thing God does with this "everything in heaven and in the earth" that is God's . . . God shares it with you . . . freely gives you everything you need to nourish, to sustain, to make rich and full the life God has given you . . .."  By the Rev. George Haynes. (5/31/04)

The Positives of Pledging. "Whether we call it a pledge, a commitment, an intent, or something else, it all comes down to the same thing: a statement that a proportionate share of our monetary resources is to be given for the proclamation of the Gospel. It says that our Christian giving is not only on a par with everything else in our household budget, but indeed is at the top of the list! We want to give the first fruits for the Lord’s work!" By Clint Schroeder. (5/24/04)

The Positives of Pledging. "Whether we call it a pledge, a commitment, an intent, or something else, it all comes down to the same thing: a statement that a proportionate share of our monetary resources is to be given for the proclamation of the Gospel. It says that our Christian giving is not only on a par with everything else in our household budget, but indeed is at the top of the list! We want to give the first fruits for the Lord’s work!" By Clint Schroeder. (05/17/04)

Question for Youth: Where Have All the Eagles Gone? Here's an exercise for youth to help them learn about the effect of human activities on the environment, and then to put that awareness into action through advocacy and education. "I developed an eco-skit based on the situation of the Bald Eagles in North America. Since many young people seem enamored by these birds of pray, there probably will be some immediate interest." By the Rev. Dr. Clifton J. Suehr, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Irwin, Pa. (05/17/04)

Open to God's Surprises. "Congregationally based stewardship begins with the steadfast recounting of the story of the riches of God’s grace lavished upon us in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. That story defines who we are, namely, children of God called to faith by the Water and the Word of Baptism, nurtured and sustained by the Lord’s Supper, blessed and empowered by the Spirit of God, placed within the community of faith." By the Rev. Marcus Lohrmann, bishop of the Northwest Ohio Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. (05/10/04)

The Stories of Isaiah and Pepe What do Israel's greatest prophet and a present-day advocate for Mexico's poorest have in common? Plenty, and the implications for stewardship are profound. "By hearing their stories, you and I also can be transformed in our sense of call, because we cannot hear these stories without examining how God calls us to serve the people among whom we live." By the Rev. Dr. William Avery, stewardship professor at Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary. (05/03/04)  

Leaf Composting on the Prairie. "Solid waste disposal facilities are at a premium. It becomes clear than that these facilities cannot afford to accept materials that can be easily composted.  But that's not the only to consider composting leaves! Composted leaves are a valuable resource. It can be used to fertilize lawns and gardens, as an excellent mulching material, and can even be utilized as part of a potting soil mix."  By the Rev. Kathleen Kinney. (04/26/04)

Bluebird Nesting Boxes: A Project for Youth and Adults. "This project, which also involves building bluebird nesting boxes, is designed for a two hour youth group session for children about nine to twelve years of age. The project opens with a call to worship that gathers the children into a community to focus on their response to God’s call to become caretakers of the world." By Richard Carter and Edward Ebersole. (04/19/04)

The Church's Call to Environmental Stewardship."The biblical call to stewardship will lead us to foster quality of life. The quality of life that is measured only by material goods and economic factors is incomplete. Total quality of life must include the health and stability of the natural world, relative justice and peace for people, and the free and true worship of God Almighty. It is on this basis, on this biblical vision, that Christians are motivated to respond to ecological crises." By Gilson A.C. Waldkoenig.  (04/12/04)

 Confirmation Emphasis: Environmental Stewardship. Here's a six-part program for confirmands to explore a complex issue that affects us all. "Given today’s serious environmental challenges, both locally and globally, it is appropriate to make stewardship of the environment a much higher priority than in the past. This is an excellent opportunity to talk with youth about situations that impact their lives on a daily basis." By Mark D. Gibbs. (04/05/04)

Lighting the First Candle. "We shall never know the true meaning of being faithful stewards until we are prepared to risk the transitory for the sake of the ethereal." By Robert Buhr. (3/29/04)

Stewardship in the Congregation. "The stewardship of the gospel begins where we are. It is within and outside the congregation that we share the responsibility and accountability with other stewards of the gospel. And it needs to be said as forcibly as possible that what we do is as important as what we say. Someone has wisely observed that "It is not enough to talk the talk, unless we also walk the walk." By Roger Smith, Region 8 deployed ELCA stewardship specialist. (3/22/04)

Grace & Gratitude Grow Givers. "This money, this talent, this time that I have is all owned by the one who shaped and fashioned me into his child. It all belongs to the one who made me and who claimed me in holy baptism. When I have settled this ownership issue then I have settled some very basic issues about my life. I have settled the issue of life's basic direction. So I am pointed in the direction of how I can best be shaped by the potter who fashioned me." By Larry Smith. (3/15/04)

Athletes Putting Their Faith In Action.  "We may never know what all of the Christian athletes give, or in the many ways they give, nor is it any of our business to know how much money they give, but we do know that many of these athletes practice Christian humility and put their "faith in action" on the playing field and off. These highly-skilled athletes are thankful for their God-given abilities which makes them so great. " By Ralph Gould. (3/8/04)

Zacchaeus, Patron Saint of Stewards.  "Zacchaeus did not promise to read scripture more faithfully nor to attend the synagogue more regularly. On this occasion he was not pledging his time or his talent to the programmatic mission of the faith community. Worthy as those are -- and necessary for the life of the people of God -- this visit was about something else. This commitment was to re-order his financial priorities and his stewardship of material things. " By the Rev. Glenn Schoonover. (3/1/04) 

Economics Vs. Stewardship.  "I constantly am struck by parallels between my life's work as an economist and my concept to Christian stewardship - in economics we deal with how we use our resources to fill our human wants, in stewardship we deal with how we choose to use God's gifts to us. I have noted that those who are closest to our basic resources - closest to the land, water and other natural resources - have the best perspective on what good stewardship means." By the Rev. Richard L. Peterman. (2/23/04)

Can Stewardship Be More Inviting? "All stewardship talk which begins with money starts at the wrong place. The place to begin meaningful stewardship conversation is with the concept of freedom.  ... God’s love is freely given to us simply because we are God’s children, simply because God loves us apart from our worthiness or unworthiness. When we learn this truth and appropriate it at the center of our being, then we are truly free." By the Rev. William O. Avery, stewardship professor at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. (2/16/04)

A Little ... It is Enough  The story of Jesus miraculously feeding the 5,000 is so important, it's the only account shared in all four gospels. It offers many lessons for modern-day stewards. "Are we not to this very day, much like those first followers of Jesus? We are all too fond of committees. We will do an analysis of most any situation and decide what cannot be done. And have good reasons for it." By Kenneth Fink. (1/19/04)

Money: Do Our Attitudes andPractices Reflect Our Faith?  "I need to daily remind myself that everything I have, yes even life itself, is a gift from God. I do this by offering a prayer of thanksgiving at the beginning of every day for this new day and for the many blessings that continue to be bestowed by God. We are tempted by the sin within us and the multitude of events around us to want to put our faith in man. Money especially has this power. " By Duane Engelhardt. (1/12/04)

Stewardship Bottleneck. "It is hard to believe that the root cause for poor stewardship is a simple little two letter word. It is a word that we learn early in life, long before we learn that we have and are responsible for all of the gifts God has entrusted into our care. Babies often use this word by the time they are barely one year old. From that point on, it guides most of us for our entire life. What is this evil and malicious word? It is the simple word 'my,' that is, belonging to me." By Robert Drange. (1/5/4)

Good Stewardship Begins with the Pastor. "Like any top executive in a successful corporation, the pastor must be willing to put forth time and effort far beyond what he or she expects of his or her people. The pastor sets the standard and the tone. If a pastor is not willing to make some sacrifices, he or she should find another less demanding profession. It’s that simple." By Robert Zimmer. (12/29/3)

Random Thoughts on Stewardship.  "If we give out of surplus, or in a leftover manner, we have ignored the gifts God has given us. We have not planned our response to God for all we have been blessed with. We are more concerned with what we want for ourselves than what God wants for all people." By Helmut Kaffine. (12/22/03)

Small Coins/Big Money , Robert Scmitt. "If we give out of surplus, or in a leftover manner, we have ignored the gifts God has given us. We have not planned our response to God for all we have been blessed with. We are more concerned with what we want for ourselves than what God wants for all people." (12/15/03)

Church and Money, Glen Holmquist. "Certainly we need to encourage the giving of time and talent, but when service becomes a substitute for the tithe, then we are doing a disservice to people who need victory in their lives. Begin to tithe and the committed involvement will follow. " (12/8/03)

Stewardship, Faith and Life, Duane Englehardt. "Although we profess a wider understanding of stewardship, we have allowed it to be primarily focused on the given of money. Even when we add time and talent to our discussion, the message we hear is related to money. We need to focus on the 'need of the giver to give' versus the 'need of the institution to receive.'  " (12/01/03)

 The Three T's Reconsidered, Robert A. Hoffman.  "Stewardship does not begin with giving, but with receiving. It does not begin with an action, but with an attitude; everything that I have has been given to me." (11/24/03)